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Taxed Enough Already!
Can America’s Wealthy Class
 Shoulder the Liberal Load?

The forever mantra of AOC and other liberal leaders these days is to tax the rich. The arguments sometimes suggest America's fat cats didn’t really earn what they have, so it is high time to take some of it back, better yet, take all of it (over 50 years). Socialist candidates say they want to redistribute wealth fairly. We say Americans are Taxed Enough Already, so we decided to put a calculator to their crazy socialist tax policy ideas.

What if we butcher all the pigs?

AOC vaguely refers to the “tippy top” of the upper class while Elizabeth Warren, a multi-millionaire herself, wants to limit the slaughter to people with assets in excess of $50 million. If she dropped the number much lower, she herself could wind up in the gilded pen. In reality, the private jet crowd with assets over $50 million represents a very small subclass of the rich, so just to make mathematical sense of the new liberal redistribution model we had to expand the base by lowering the wealth cutoff to $ 5 million, which is to say family taxpayer asset totals including all bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, yachts, and so forth. Sorry Senator, you’re in the pen with the rest of the rich pigs and ready for the liberals to feast on.

There are about 2 million Americans successful enough to enjoy a net worth over a million dollars, the "one carrot" number many blue states now consider merely being a member of their successful middle class. One million dollar net worth is sometimes referred to as beer and pretzels rich. In the eyes of politicians, the $ 1 - 5 million net worth demographic group proves delicate because it encompasses large donor bases for both parties. As such, these folks are not yet fat enough for the liberal tax slaughterhouse, nor would it be wise for Democrats to ever suggest it.

What if the pigs revolt?

One of the ways the rich get richer is by watching the lips of politicians. At best, the mainline media will give an occasional blink through a peephole into $5000 a plate dinners and birthday bash fundraisers. In truth, these events may be fun but are often not particularly relevant to how Senate campaigns raise millions for a run. The fact is the "real" donors, with established budgets, agendas (often unspoken), and candidate screening approaches, seldom attend plate fund raisers; and, when they do, nobody asks them for a check at the door. Conversely, they may send in a check but pass on the filet and not even attend. The agenda for them is not about a party. The donor class communicates with campaign finance directors and they almost always meet with candidates one on one.

Opensecrets.org provides demographics expanding the media peephole into the real  world of campaign finance. First, with a US population over 320 million, the actual number of people who donate over $200 is quite small - less than half a percent. Federal election rules cap individual donations (by a person to a candidate, to a PAC, etc.) at $2700. If there is a spouse name on the check, double it. States operate under their own rules. The percentage of the population called "max donors" who exceed the $2700 limit is a mere .07 percent of the population. or about 224,000 people. It is difficult to be precise, but this number correlates roughly with known wealth statistics and suggests net worth among this group above $ 4 million ("Cruise ship and Disney" rich).

Within this group, it is reasonable to believe most are independent thinkers, yet there is evidence candidates are discussed among them at cocktail parties and on the golf course; and, of course, there is a known group of "Koch followers" who seem to set their budgets and pick candidate recipients with notable correlation. Justifiably, the public, the media, and even the candidates all recognize mixing money and Washington can be problematic. Unfortunately, for most politicians, cutting off the "pigs" is a proven path toward political failure. It is what it is, like it or not, at least until the system changes.

If elected officials draft or support legislation provocative to the real donor class, they take a risk. At times, this even appears to gridlock the government. Still, simple microeconomics suggests taxes, family budgets, and political action all tend to be fungible and/or mutually offsetting. If the family jet needs an unexpected  turbine overhaul, something else might give; for example, passing on the next art auction. When the tax bill goes up by $ 25,000, it isn't necessarily a reason to lose sleep if the $50,000 election budget can be adjusted to make up the difference.

For finance directors, raising campaign funds can be a bit like walking through a casino, pulling on the handles but not always knowing for sure why a jackpot hits here, but not there. Prior to the Trump Effect, which raised stock prices 30 percent, political campaigns were feeling a different "Trump effect" as a notable donor shortage developed. It seems a billionaire claiming he didn't need OPM ("other people's money") in order to win was being taken literally by the donor class. Swamp spray was landing on other candidates who relied on the real donor class to win.

In full context, the idea of pulling a tax break away from the real donor class is somewhat analogous to demanding payment of a University parking ticket from the nice widow who's name is on the building. It's touchy, to say the least; and, as recently taught, Jeff Bezos doesn't want the Amazon name on a New York building if politicians begin suggesting they should be writing Amazon a bunch of "parking tickets." Mr. Bezos probably took no pleasure in cracking the whip on utter nonsense; however, he has an obligation to protect both himself and his shareholders from utter nonsense.

Yes, successful politicians on both sides of the aisle are smart enough to get all this, recognizing both donor and candidate can lose if the relationship becomes strained. The real question for each elected official lies in where public rhetoric stops and tangible action begins. Talk is cheap and there is always a chance to clear it up in the "one on one." In defense of politicians, if the field offices are flooded with complaints about a company's consumer abuses or fraud, the company owner is not going to be invited to the next birthday bash.

How much real wealth is there?

Moving the porker weight limit up a notch to $5 million plus means a mere 178,000 taxpayers can be called targetable “rich.” This also happens to represent few enough votes to cause real political  trouble, but enough money to end political careers. Rather than take Starbuck's Howard Schultz trial balloon as real intent to run as an independent, the wiser party leaders and finance directors should more correctly view it as dropping a hint. When one of the biggest boars lets out a growl, it needs to be taken seriously.

So, beginning with 178,000 hefty pigs in the corral, if we butcher them all by taking every last penny of their wealth in order to pay down the national debt, then we could theoretically reduce the total amount owed by about $4 trillion, leaving a collapsed economy and between $17 and $18 trillion still due and owing by the new Socialist States of America.

If AOC wamts to hand all of the “tippy top” harvested money out in the form of FREE stuff and guaranteed incomes, then her policy calculates out to be a once in a lifetime windfall of just over $13,000 per person.  Setting the collapsed economy aside, while this might seem like a big chunk of money, it doesn’t even pay a first year of FREE college tuition, nor does it pay for a year of FREE health care in non-adjusted Obamacare dollars. It certainly doesn’t pay for both, which is what AOC, Bernie, Liz, Kamala, and their followers claim is a right. Don't forget, the national debt already levies nearly $70,000 per US citizen, so maybe some folks would prefer to reduce their tab to $57,000? Or would that categorize them as wealthy and not paying their fair share; thus, subjected to yet higher taxes?  Strike one, AOC.

If AOC elects to apportion yearly payments rather than hand over a lump sum check for $13,000; then, computing based on an average US citizen lifespan of 78 years, each citizen would be entitled to get a whopping $167.00. House Leader Pelosi might say this is not even a full crumb. Even if we change the Constitution to adopt Elizabeth Warren’s 50 year property confiscation plan (2 percent a year), the number is still only $ 260 a year – that should fix everything, right? Wrong. Strike two, Senator.

What if we don’t butcher all the pigs at once?

Correct, we exaggerated what AOC actually said to make a point. We would be first to admit AOC never said she wanted to grab all of it at once. It was Elizabeth Warren who proposed taking a bite out of each pig every year while keeping them alive for 50 years, kind of like culling the ever growing herd of rich people. Recall this story - while  commenting on why there was a three legged pig in the barnyard, the farmer quipped it was such a good and loyal pig the family didn’t want to eat it all at one time.

As opposed to Warren, AOC merely wanted a ridiculously huge percentage of the money the richest pigs earn each year. In the Netherlands, nearly everybody rides a bicycle to work because so little of their paycheck is left after 70 percent taxation. Instead of keeping what they earn, they get to smoke pot, so keeping people from getting behind the wheel seems to work out well for Dutch policy makers.

OK, we get it. Analyzing AOC's plan seems easier said than done; nevertheless, investment maven and billionaire Warren Buffett, another liberal bulldog barking away for wealthy folks to pay up, says most investors generate long term average income of 6.7 percent each year on their investments. He ought to know, so let’s do the math. Although Buffet's return estimate may be inflated being a compounded tax free average, we elected not to reduce it by these factors because even the inflated revenue number fails badly.

If you are willing to believe that none of AOC’s or Warren’s pig class assets are tied up in yachts, jets, mansions, vacation homes, luxury cars, and other non-income producing property, we were can compute a number using Buffet’s opined return percentage to estimate gross income for the group. Per AOC’s prescription, we then took just 70 percent of that amount in order to leave 30 percent in the trough, or more politely stated, a bit of Jet-A still left in the Hawker. This proposed tax policy would allow AOC and/or Warren to hand out their “proverbial check” (the value of FREE stuff) in the amount of $625.00 for each American. Yet again, this number is pathetically short of the real costs of FREE tuition expenses and/or FREE medical care.

At the 90 percent non-marginal tax rate some liberals prefer, the check amount increases to $804.00, still far short of funding the liberal mission. By February 2019, AOC narrowed her statement, saying she only wanted to tax those people with incomes exceeding $10 million dollars annually; at the same time, bitterly complaining to the interviewer, "Why should we build a heliport for Jeff Bezos?" Huh? Did Amazon lose her package? Did he stiff her on a tip when she was a Manhattan bartender?

Clearly, 2000 rich taxpayers is a small fraction of our 178,000 headcount - just over 1 percent. We already included AOC's 2000 "tippy" toppers (and their helipads) in the $625 calculation earlier, so the new number only drops lower when AOC decides to let some of the pigs out of the gilded pen. Her one percent of the one percent of the one percent revenue number would prove immaterial to the size of the federal budget; thus, her idea and mindset weigh out as basic helipad envy. We can't say if  aspirin would help; but, if AOC's heartache would be reduced by Congressional policy encouraging rich people to fly commercially, then perhaps she could ask the TSA folks at Newark Airport to practice up on their people skills? Just a suggestion to bring both sides of the aisle back together.

Did anyone explain to AOC how brilliant folks like Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, might also make $10 million in a single year even though they are not billionaires? Perhaps Mr. Schumer, who advocates for New York's entertainment industry, can inform AOC how prior year Broadway show development losses are limited to a mere $3000 carryover deduction per year if and only after the box office finally turns a profit. In plain words, current tax law states if you put $ 15 million into a show over two years, open the box office, and are lucky enough to make a profit, you are entitled to a maximum $3000 tax deduction. As a point of fact, Mr. Miranda struggled for many, many years to achieve his dream of making Hamilton into today's hit; and, success stories like his are exactly what makes America great.

Would you bet the farm for the chance to pay 70 or 90 percent of your success to AOC and her socialist gang? Not on your life. Let people keep more of the money they earn, and it will motivate more. Finally, everyone should have a little faith the hard working, "comfortable" ones will adopt their charities and causes, just like Mr. Manuel, Mr. Gates, Mr. Bezos, and dozens of others.

In every case, giving every benefit of the doubt, our calculated numbers always fall way below the Pelosi crumb threshold, a whole crumb being $1000. Non of this insanity will generate FREE college and health care for America. Our only savior is hard work by everybody. Strike three, liberal ladies, back on the dugout for all of you. See you next time America holds an election; for now, you're all benched.

Is the money just in the wrong hands?

The vast majority of business owners hate firing people but love handing out bonus checks; knowing all too well firing someone represents a loss and handing out bonuses means there was extra profit. Fair minded folks dream of a world where everyone can enjoy free college and medical care, or even the basics like food and a bed to sleep in. A few Republican politicians caught flack for sleeping in their offices while commuting to Washington to help find ways to solve America's problems, but AOC isn't going to face that kind of challenge in her new DC digs. Back to point, history proves no elite class, and no government currency printing press, has enough financial capacity to make real progress unless a vast majority of citizens work hard to improve their own standard of living. If it’s about the economy; then, it’s all about motivating people to work hard. Kennedy did it and nobody maligned him; in fact, America made it to the moon. Not only have socialist governments confiscated all the wealth of a targeted affluent group and soon failed, a few even targeted their hated rich to be sent off to work camps in order to glean every last ounce of labor, as if stealing all their assets was not "moral" enough. Yes, AOC told the interviewer "moral" with respect to her notion of why Amazon and Mr. Bezos ought to hand it over. Each time, without exception, these policies failed catastrophically.

Almost like the theory taught in a first year physics course, it sometimes seems like money, labor, and, to a some extent, energy, are all easily interchangeable in a modern economy. An elected leader with an undergraduate degree in economics merely needs to toss a handful of each on the scales in just the right amounts and the economic engine will run magnificently, right? Wrong.

The liberal Lorax may argue there is plenty of free energy ready for solar and windmill harvesting, but actually capturing that energy is where reality hits home. If you're thinking this is analogous to harvesting tax money from the wealthy class, you're getting it. The Lorax is a story book for children and the central character never actually calculated the BTU’s in the hundred car coal train which passes through Hinsdale, Illinois every morning on its way to keeping Chicago working. No liberal policy prophet bothered to determine how many wind turbines it takes to replace just one heaping coal car. Even the elite Kennedys fought the idea of wind farms disrupting their Cape Cod view of the ocean. Irrespective of what happens on election day, both the laws of physics and the principles of economics are unforgiving. In this respect, being elected is kind of like flying a plane, driving an eighteen wheeler, or performing live: If you screw up, someone pays. Make the campaign declaration, "Gravity will reverse," and voters will expect answers when the ball still falls.

Idealistic liberal Bill de Blasio seems to  channel theories of free energy when he talks about plenty of money in New York being in the wrong hands. Strike one for Bill. The actual wealth available falls far short of his political dreams; and, just like building enough windmills, he utterly fails to address the cost and consequences tied to harvesting all the free money he thinks is there. Try capitalism, Bill. It was working pretty well for the last few guys who had the job.

When it comes to tax policy, we must remain wary of taking assets away from people with proven track records investing capital to create jobs, income, and wealth. Political elites who have already amassed trillions in red ink are a bad place to invest our hard earned savings. If you owned $10,000 in Apple stock, would you sell it, take the cash down to your local bartender, and say, "Hey, take this money and see what you can do with it for me."

The rest of our calculations show President Trump has already put more money into the hands of ordinary Americans that any of these whacky socialist ideas ever could. As President Trump achieved all of this for America, he even got to keep his 757, hotels, golf courses, and other property. Now, that's a true capitalist - makes other people richer without losing any of this own money. To add to the chagrin of liberals, mad Maxine Waters even had to schedule her recent street protest on a national holiday because so many of her supporters are now working. Thank you, Mr. President.

All theories of economics and physics set aside, President Trump simply motivated more Americans to work a little harder than the last guy who had the job. Obama was focused on things that divide us. Under President Trump's leadership, enough people were willing to work hard to Make America Great Again that America did start becoming great again. He had their back. Home run.

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Agenda for our Citizens in Action Meeting: To Be Announced
Speaker: Open Microphone Event
Date: To Be Announced
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Time: 1800 - 1900 (6:00 PM - 7:00 PM)

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About our Citizens in Action Organization meetings...
Citizens in Action is pleased to present new and interesting luminaries, political leaders, candidates, and subject matter experts every month to help educate Tippecanoe County and Indiana voters.
Always on Tap:

     Letters to editors and communications with elected officials. News/war/scandal/recaps...
     What keeps you awake at night?
               Out of control spending? Exploding gasoline prices and electric rates? Political self dealing?
                       Retaliatory IRS audits? Secret surveillance? Hypocrisy? Property confiscation?
                                 Who's in your wallet?
     Reports from other meetings/national trends/candidates willing to take action. More...


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MISSION STATEMENT: We will work to restore limited government, fiscal responsibility and responsible, transparent representation through citizen action and education. We recognize that we must exercise constant vigilance in order to preserve the blessings of liberty and to uphold the Constitutions of the State of Indiana and the United States of America.